My Irish readers will know of the Burren, a mysterious landscape of bare limestone, weathered and fissured by ice and rain on the North West coast of Clare. One particularly unusual aspect of the Burren is that rare species of Alpine and Mediterranean flowers grow side by side in the grykes and fissures of the rocky landscape. Yes, the cracks in the limestone are called “grykes”, so I’m told, and the flat bits are called “clints”.
And here’s a quote from the Burren National Park website – “Among the many varied and beautiful flowers which have come to symbolise the Burren are spring gentian, mountain avens, shrubby cinquefoil and bloody cranesbill and, on the higher terraces, the hoary rock rose” – don’t ask me why they have such unseemly names – but why all this wonderful information, you might ask. Why indeed?
Well, I visited the Burren recently and it really is a wonderful place. But for me it wasn’t because of its flora, or its grykes or even the clints. I think that it was the silence that got me. I stood there in the limestone wilderness. In the far distance I could hear a cuckoo calling. Close by, a gentle breeze rustling in the undergrowth, bees, a grasshopper… ciúnas, suaimhneas, quietness…
if you’d like to see some more of my sketches, do write to me, it’s very nice to get your feedback.